News / Arts & Entertainment

Hotel in Rio Favela Attracts Jazz Enthusiasts

Hotel in Rio Favela Attracts Jazz Enthusiastsi
X
July 11, 2014 6:33 PM
You might not expect to find a hotel in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas -- the local name for the city's shantytowns. But VOA’s Brian Allen has the unlikely success story of “The Maze.” Though it's located in one of the poorest parts of the city, it has also been named as one of the best places to hear live jazz music in the world.
Brian Allen

You might not expect to find a hotel in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas - the local name for the city's shantytowns.  The success story of “The Maze,” though located in one of the poorest parts of the city, it has been named one of the best places to hear live jazz music in the world.

Nearly everywhere you go in Rio de Janeiro, you’re always close to an informal settlement, or favela.
 
More than 11 million Brazilians live in these poor communities, famous for the colorful - but often dangerously constructed - buildings, dense population, and in some cases, the drug trade and associated crime.
 
In hotels, brochures advertise favela tours, next to pamphlets for helicopter rides and boat excursions.
 
But one man has gone far beyond treating Rio’s favelas as just a tourist adventure: 35 years ago, Bob Nadkarni moved in.
 
Welcome to The Maze.

It started as a quiet art studio for the British expatriate.  Slowly, he expanded the space and ultimately opened his sprawling home, with one of the best views of Rio de Janeiro, to friends and family.
 
“It’s not just a house, it’s a work of art.  It’s a sculpture people live in and find their way through.  It’s called The Maze because it’s a place people come to lose themselves and find themselves,” he said.
 
Nadkarni was instrumental in helping clean up the Tavares Bastos favela, where The Maze is located.  For years, he said, it was run by gangs and drug lords.  He convinced the controversial favela pacification police to set up shop - permanently.
 
In 2005, The Maze became a hotel.
 
“As my wife said, all my friends treat me as a hotel anyway, and I thought, ‘you know, I am a hotel!’ So I built a few more rooms and opened it up and got this going,” he explained.
 
In recent years, the guesthouse has developed a reputation as a world-renowned jazz club.  DownBeat Magazine, an influential music publication, lists it as one of the “best jazz venues” in the world.
 
Nadkarni said the now-famous “Jazz Night,” the first Friday of every month, started small.  “We had a party with a few friends of mine playing jazz, 12 people here, and they all liked it so much they suggested we do it again.  So they all brought three friends the next month, and then it was 40 people.  It became geometric, and now I don’t ever get less than 500 people at a jazz night,” he said.
 
The Maze has raised its prices, trying to keep the attendance manageable - but people still flock in.
 
For Nadkarni, that’s just what he wants. “I get a house full of all kinds of people. I get a lot of artists and poets and writers and filmmakers and musicians here," he explained. "It’s a place where people meet and exchange ideas and bounce off each other.”
 
The morning after Jazz Night, life at The Maze is quiet again.  The space is empty and the people are gone - but the gorgeous, panoramic views remain.
 
And Nadkarni’s wife helps their daughter with her homework - in the same spot that was packed with people and alive with music just hours before.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."